The San Ramon Valley Unified School District is committed to our mission of serving all students and preparing them to flourish as responsible, ethical and productive citizens who realize their full potential in an ever-changing world. We also understand that in order to fulfill this mission we must continue to provide safe and welcoming environments in which our students can learn and achieve.
This ever-changing world can create challenges and even confusion for students, staff and parents. We are currently living in a time of great change which has led to feelings of uncertainty across the nation and for some SRVUSD students, staff and parents. I feel it is important that we work together as a San Ramon Valley Unified School District community to reassure all our families that they are safe and welcome at our schools. It is also important that you know that SRVUSD will continue to follow the laws which provide fair, equal and legal access to a public education regardless of socioeconomic status, actual or perceived national origin, ethnic group identification, intellectual disability, sexual identification, religion, citizenship, or immigration status.
State law and SRVUSD Board Policy 5145.3 prohibits discrimination at schools. SRVUSD believes that our students have the right to be free of bullying, intimidation and harassment while on any of our campuses or associated with any school/district related activity. California State Assembly Bill 1266 provides further protections for transgender students including that students shall be permitted to “use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records” (Education Code Section 221.5(f)). Recent news regarding transgender restrooms for students does not roll back protections for California students and educators including those created under AB 1266. Neither does it change the District’s commitment to providing gender neutral single-stall restrooms to accommodate the needs of all students.
Likewise, the conversation about immigration does not change the laws dictating that every child in the United States has a right to a public education regardless of their immigration status, as ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court in Plyler v. Doe (1982). SRVUSD follows the law and we do not and will not ask about or record a child’s immigration status. Neither will we, in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), release student record information to third parties such as immigration officers. FERPA generally prohibits the release of personally identifiable student information to outside agencies without written parent consent, judicial order, or a lawfully-issued subpoena.
In addition, we continue to work on initiatives that address tolerance and unconscious biases for students and staff. This Thursday and Friday, we are fortunate to have civil rights hero -- Dr. Terrence Roberts -- in our District speaking to these issues with students and staff. Roberts was one of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African American students who, in 1957, were the first black students to attend classes at the then all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. On Thursday, he will be sharing his message of tolerance with middle and high school students from throughout the District as well as with all our school administrators.
The following morning, all SRVUSD employees will have an opportunity to hear Dr. Robert’s message as he opens our day of professional development. This is the first time in many years that we have brought all employees -- teachers, support staff and administrators -- together for a day of growth and learning. During this time, I will also be speaking to staff about our need to double down our efforts to provide a safe and welcoming environment for each student at all our schools.
Also on Friday, the Anti-Defamation League will offer professional development to staff that centers on understanding one another’s stories. This is part of a new partnership that we have with the Anti-Defamation League that includes trainings for staff and students for “No Place for Hate” programs at our schools. This is on top of all the work that has already been in place on climate, inclusion and culturally responsive teaching and learning. Across the District, schools are engaging staff and students in conversations on the theme of understanding each other’s stories, with a focus on the very simple message that our words matter.
Know that while the world outside of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District will continue to change, our commitment to safe and welcoming schools remains the same. We welcome all students into a safe environment where they can discover the joy of learning and reach their fullest potential.